BackgroundThe purpose of this study was to review to review the reported associations of depression and antidepressants with motor vehicle crashes.
PurposeA literature search for material published in the English language between January, 1995, and October, 2015, in bibliographic databases was combined with a search for other relevant material referenced in the retrieved articles.
MethodsRetrieved articles were systematically reviewed for inclusion criteria: 19 epidemiological studies (17 case-control and 2 cohort studies) fulfilled the inclusion criteria by estimating the crash risk associated with depression and/or psychotropic medications in naturalistic settings.
ResultsThe estimates of the odds ratio (OR) of crash involvement associated with depression ranged from 1.78 to 3.99. All classes of antidepressants were reported to have side effects with the potential to affect driving safety. The majority of studies of antidepressant effects on driving reported an elevated crash risk, and ORs ranged from 1.19 to 2.03 for all crashes, and 3.19 for fatal crashes. In meta-analysis, depression was associated with approximately 2-fold increased crash risk (summary OR = 1.90; 95% CI, 1.06 to 3.39), and antidepressants were associated with approximately 40% increased crash risk (summary OR = 1.40; 95%CI, 1.18 to 1.66).
ConclusionBased on the findings of the studies reviewed, depression, antidepressants or the combination of depression and antidepressants may pose a potential hazard to driving safety. More research is needed to understand the individual contributions of depression and the medications used to treat depression.